On October 23rd-24th 2014, the European Council approved the European Union strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region (EUSAIR). The Launch Conference organized by the Italian Presidency of the Council in cooperation with the European Commission, took place in Brussels on November 18th 2014.
EUSAIR is based on the maritime strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region implemented by the European Commission in 2012 and is the only European macro-region strategy that includes 4 member states (Italy, Croatia, Greece and Slovenia) and 4 non-EU countries (Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina).
This strategy aims at promoting the economic and social well-being in the Adriatic and Ionian region, by fostering employment, improving its appeal, competitiveness and connectivity while protecting the environment and ensuring the safety and balance of the sea-coast ecosystems. The EUSAIR is built on four thematic pillars:
- Blue Growth
- Connecting the Region
- Environmental quality
- Sustainable tourism
Besides these pillars, EUSAIR includes different topics such as capacity building, research and innovation.
The Strategy has been implemented with an Action Plan that includes a list of priorities and objiectives for each Pillar, to be achieved by 2021. In addition, a governance mechanism has been set on two levels alongside the political level: a Governing Board (GB) and Thematic Steering Groups (TSG).
The GB includes, among others, the Foreign Affairs Ministries of the 8 Countries, Commission services (DG Regio, DG Mare, DG Near) and representatives of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and the Adrion Program. The GN has to orient the work done by the TSGs.
The four TSGs, one for each Pillar, are responsible for the implementation of the Action Plan, by identifying projects and initiatives and promoting them for funding and investments. Each TSG include national and trans-national coordinators. Italy is co-coordinator, with Serbia, of the Pillar 2 "Connecting the Region", with two different but interconnected priorities:
- Transports, divided in maritime and intermodal connections towards the hinterland
- Energy networks
The Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport is the central Administration in charge of the execution of the EUSAIR Strategy Pillar 2. Mr. Antonio Cancian is the engineer appointed operative Focal Point on April 2nd 2015 and is in charge, on behalf of the Ministry, of the Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Macro-Region, which relies on RAM as Focal Point of the activities.
A Governing Unit has been established to carry out the Strategy in Italy; it is represented by: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and collaboration to its activities (MAECI), Department for the Economic Development and Cohesion (DPS), the Department for European Policies and Central and Local Administrations involved, in order to facilitate the different demands coming from the subjects involved.
To support the Governance of the EUSAIR Strategy, the Interreg Adrion Program 2014-2020 (Adrion) has been approved by the European Commission with decision C (2015) 7147 dated October 20th 2015, which concerns four Members States: Croatia, Greece, Italy and Slovenia, and four non-EU States: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.
The Adrion Program overall balance is 117.917.379 Eur, including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (83.467.729 Eur), the instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA II) (15.688.887 Eur) and national contributions (18.760.763 Eur). Also, 85% of FESR / IPA co-funding applies to the projects.
The Region Emilia-Romagna is the Managing Authority of Adrion.
Adrion is based on 4 priorities, which are the thematic topics strictly linked to the EUSAIR Pillars:
- Smart and innovative Region
- Sustainable Region
- Connected Region
- A better governance for EUSAIR
The Priority Area 4 (PA4) aims to establish an operational tool to support the EUSAIR Strategy Governance (Governing Board, TSG) by means of a strategic project (Facility Point) that will be controlled by Slovenia (Lead Partner) in close collaboration with the partners of the project represented by all the EUSAIR Countries. For Italy, the Region Marche is the designated partner.